"The World’s Garment Workers Are On The Front Lines Of Climate Impacts"

"Fast fashion is one of the world’s most polluting industries. Its global workforce is paying the price."

"As Nour feeds another half-finished pair of pants through her sewing machine, her arms begin to shake. Amid the whir of fans, her T-shirt sticks to her like skin. She fights to focus, knowing full well her target of up to 100 pieces an hour isn’t going to hit itself.

“I am completely soaked in sweat,” the 38-year-old says of her work shifts. “The heat makes me exhausted.”

Nour, who asked to use a pseudonym out of fear of reprisal from her employer, works at Yakjin, a South Korean-owned garment factory in Cambodia. More than 2,500 employees here stitch apparel for major U.S. giants like Walmart and Gap. Workers at Yakjin say the heat often leads to near-fainting episodes, fatigue, and dehydration. With no windows, the air feels stifling but their requests for fans are at times ignored.

Workers at three other factories in Phnom Penh, the country’s capital, producing clothes for brands like Primark, H&M, and Old Navy (owned by Gap Inc.), told similar stories of worsening heat."

This story is published in partnership with The Fuller Project.

Louise Donovan, Snigdha Poonam, and Albert Oppong-Ansah report for Grist May 2, 2024.

Source: Grist, 05/07/2024